Biofuels Mandates as Driver of Potential Ethanol Demand

This Chart of Note shows the theoretical volume of ethanol demand by non-U.S. markets with existing biofuels mandates. If countries enforced existing biofuels mandates using ethanol, their gasoline use in 2012 would suggest that the top 10 ethanol consumers would require 3.5 billion gallons of the renewable fuel. The next 10 would add another 393 million gallons of demand.

Showcasing U.S. Barley to the Japanese Food Barley Buyers and End-Users

Japanese Barley team 1

By: Tommy Hamamoto, U.S. Grains Council Director in Japan
Japan is an important market for U.S. food barley, which is used in tea, liquor and cereal. In 2013, Japan nearly doubled imports of U.S. barley for food compared to 2012, in part due to promotional efforts by the U.S. Grains Council. In support of this effort, the Council hosted a Japanese food barley team composed of key buyers and end-users to the U.S. barley belt from July 29 to Aug. 6.

Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations Continued in Ottawa

In July, chief negotiators from the 12–countries participating in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks met in Ottawa, Ontario, to continue their work. The TPP is a potential free trade agreement between countries in the Asia-Pacific region, including Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, the United States and Japan.

Top US Customer a Top Priority for the Council

Japan group visit

By: Erick Erickson, U.S. Grains Council Vice President

The U.S. Grains Council met with long-standing Japanese customers of U.S. commodity corn, non-genetically modified corn and sorghum this week in Washington, D.C. The groups, the Japanese Feed Manufacturer’s Association, Zen-Noh and the Japanese Corn Starch, all affirmed their appreciation for their long-standing trade relationship with the United States and the opportunity to meet regularly to discuss concerns and issues. They then presented their list of concerns.

Strengthening Ties While Promoting US Sorghum for Food Use in Japan

BP show

By: Tommy Hamamoto, U.S. Grains Council Director of Japan

While Japan has long been a mature and stable market, there are still opportunities for growth. The potential demand for U.S. sorghum to be used for food is one example. Aware of this potential market, the U.S. Grains Council has been promoting the development of new health food products made from U.S. sorghum in Japan.

Experiencing the Value of Trade: I-CAL’s Final Week in Japan

I-CAL 2014

By: Courtney Leeper, University of Missouri

The 2014 International Collegiate Agricultural Leadership (I-CAL) team members got an up-close look at food production and processing in Japan during the second and final week of the program. A joint initiative between the National FFA Organization and the U.S. Grains Council, I-CAL 2014 was made possible through support from The Grains Foundation. Established in 1983 by members of the Council, part of the Foundation’s mission is to nurture the next generation of leaders in the agricultural and agribusiness sectors.

Throughout the week, the team visited a flour port and milling facility; a bread manufacturing facility; a food soybean processing facility; and grape, dairy, tomato, mushroom and rice farms.

Serving All Customers: Identity Preserved Programs Expand Export Options

“The keys are planning and preparation,” said Jim Stitzlein, manager of market development for Consolidated Grain and Barge. “IP (identity preserved) programs can expand customer choice, but success can only come if there is a willingness to commit, and if interest is expressed early enough to allow coordination across the entire value chain.”

Stitzlein, a U.S. Grains Council delegate and Biotechnology Advisory Team member, noted that CGB for years has promoted both commodity and IP programs and has strengthened its relationships with growers willing to respond to the users’ needs. A recent example is a relatively new IP program created by CGB and its Japanese parent company, Zen-Noh, to source non-GM corn from the United States for Japan Corn Starch, a food manufacturer. The first shipments left Gulf ports in May.

I-CAL: Wheels Up for Japan

I-CAL group in Japan

Twelve participants from 11 universities in nine states … the 2014 International Collegiate Agriculture Leadership (I-CAL) team lifted off Tuesday, May 20, from Los Angeles en route to Tokyo for an intensive 10 day program to learn about the Japanese food production and marketing systems as well as the importance of international trade.

“I-CAL is a terrific hands-on introduction to international agriculture and agribusiness,” said Anne Zaczek, U.S. Grains Council manager of global development programs. “We especially want to thank our many business partners in Japan who are hosting the team, and making sure the students get a feel for the operational realities of food production and distribution in one of the most important markets in the world for U.S. agriculture.”

TPP Negotiators Express Urgency; Acknowledge Obstacles

Negotiators for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) convened this week in Vietnam with a focus on resolving technical issues prior to next week’s TPP Ministerial meeting in Singapore. Floyd Gaibler, U.S. Grain Council director of trade policy and biotechnology, was in Vietnam for industry meetings with chief negotiators for several countries including Vietnam, New Zealand, Canada, Japan and Mexico.

“The sense of urgency is universal,” Gaibler said. “Negotiators from all countries are well aware of the clock. But at the same time, all of them recognize that there are some very difficult political decisions at stake, and that these will have to be resolved at the Ministerial level, or even higher.”

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